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Large green sphere releasing several small green exosome spheres. Illustration.

Extracellular Vesicles: For Better and For Worse

May 20, 2021, at 12:00 PM ET


Extracellular vesicles (EVs), such as exosomes, are nano-sized particles secreted by all cell types. Because of their ability to transfer a wide variety of biological cargo from donor to recipient cells, EVs have the potential to exert potent effects. Depending on the source of the donor cells, these effects may be either beneficial or harmful to recipient cells. For example, recent advancements in EV purification methods have allowed for the efficient separation of EVs away from virus in virally infected cells. Characterization of these damaging EVs has revealed the presence of viral material, and functional analyses have suggested that these EVs elicit adverse effects in uninfected recipient cells. On the other hand, EVs from human stem cells have demonstrated the ability to contribute to wound healing, angiogenesis, and immunomodulation. Therefore, these reparative EVs hold great promise for the future of regenerative medicine. This webinar will highlight recent research surrounding both damaging EVs from infected cells and reparative EVs from stem cells and discuss their potential applications for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Key Points

  • Extracellular vesicles (EVs) such as exosomes are critical mediators of intercellular communication. The diverse biological cargo that is associated with these vesicles is believed to mediate the pleiotropic effects of EVs.
  • Damaging EVs contain viral non-coding RNAs and other viral proteins. These EVs can exert deleterious effects on recipient cells; further characterization of damaging EVs may serve for diagnostic purposes.
  • Reparative EVs can contribute to various biological processes ranging from normal cellular development to the repair of damaged and/or diseased tissue. Because of their broad regenerative properties, stem cell EVs are being evaluated as potential replacements for stem cell therapy.

Watch the Presentation


Fatah Kashanchi, headshot.

Fatah Kashanchi, PhD

Professor, George Mason University

Dr. Kashanchi is a tenured Professor at George Mason University (GMU) and the Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Virology. His research focuses on the mechanisms of viral gene expression and the dynamics of viral replication and host survival. He has published 220 peer reviewed manuscripts (h index = 59), served as an editorial board and reviewer for numerous scientific journals, and is a regular NIH study section member. Recently, Dr. Kashanchi's lab has concentrated on the roles of EVs and exosomes in viral infections. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Kansas and then moved to the National Cancer Institute prior to coming to GMU.

Heather Branscome, headshot.

Heather Branscome, MS, PhD

Supervisor, Laboratory Operations, ATCC

Heather Branscome is a Lead Biologist in Manufacturing Science and Technology at ATCC. She has over 13 years of cross-functional experience working in both cell and molecular biology laboratories. In her current role she leads technology transfer activities for a wide range of products including exosomes/extracellular vesicles, CRISPR/Cas9 engineered cell lines, and induced pluripotent stem cells. She earned her MS in Cell and Molecular Biology from George Mason University and recently earned a PhD in Biosciences. Her primary research interests surround the advanced purification of EVs and the functional analysis of stem cell EVs in the context of CNS repair.